Shyness and social anxiety can range from mild to extremely debilitating. It can stop people from developing friendships, working, and even going anywhere in public.
Many celebrities/historical figures suffer from social anxiety – Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, Harrison Ford, Brad Pitt, Michelle Pfieffer, David Bowie, David Letterman, Nicole Kidman, Jim Carrey, etc. So, if you suffer from social anxiety, don’t worry – you are in good company! See the full list here.
To overcome your shyness and social anxiety, you must first educate yourself about the condition. I found that the more I learned and understood it, the more I felt in control and I felt like once I understood it, I could overcome it. Understanding the mechanisms behind shyness and social anxiety have helped me immensely because it isn’t in the unknown realm anymore. It’s been exposed for what it is.
Without a solid grasp on the hows and whys of social anxiety, it is harder to move to the next steps like challenging your thoughts, exposing yourself to the situations you fear, and improving your communication skills.
Although the journey to overcome shyness and social anxiety may be difficult, it is doable. You can regain control over your life. In some cases, you can do it yourself by learning about your condition and then trying some exercises that will challenge your thought processes and expose you to some of your feared scenarios. This may seem daunting, but the rewards are well worth the initial investment.
You have to decide to make a change. You must commit yourself and be willing to be a little uncomfortable upfront to feel better over the long run. As someone who used to be extremely shy and anxious, I can tell you that your shyness and social anxiety is holding you back. Once you can overcome this condition, you will feel like a weight has been lifted off of your chest. You will feel so liberated! You will be able to walk into a room and talk to anyone or ask a girl for her number without being scared – you won’t fear rejection or take it personally.
So yes, you may feel a little awkward doing the exercises, but trust me – it’s worth it to get your sanity back. Below is a table of contents to take you through a step by step program.
Overcoming Social Anxiety and Shyness Step by Step Guide
- What is social anxiety and do I have it?
- How fear, panic, and worry play a role
- Where do our fears come from?
- The three components of social anxiety
- How has social anxiety affected your life?
- Conducting a self-assessment
- Treatment plan goals
- Different types of social anxiety treatments
- Self-help or professional treatment?
- Developing your comprehensive treatment plan
- Different types of anxious thinking
- Identifying anxious thoughts/negative core beliefs
- Strategies for changing anxious thoughts and expectations
- Using a thought record or cognitive diary
- Behaviors that contribute to social anxiety
- Why exposure may not have worked in the past
- How to conduct exposure practices
- Exposure to social situations
- Challenging your worst fears
- Developing a situational exposure hierarchy